Long ago and far away – back in February of this year (!) – I attended a networking event. I arrived early and headed straight to get a drink. One bar station was serving just wine – sponsored by Le Grand Courtage.
I’m not a wine connoisseur so all I can say is that I enjoyed my “Blanc de Blanc.” However, what got my attention was the company’s motto:
Embrace life. Dream big. Accept all invitations.
I later checked out their website and this is how the founders describe their story:
Le Grand Courtâge is our vision. We decided to pursue our passion, take a risk and move to France with the goal of making a well-priced sparkling wine unlike any on the market.
Our motto is Embrace Life. Dream Big. Accept All Invitations and to that end our goal is to provide an affordable luxury that is perfect for “courting life” and celebrating its special occasions, as well as all of the everyday moments in between.
I’m charmed by their romanticism, but even more, I’m challenged by their commitment to “courting life.”
The demands of life, particularly in these unsettling days, are so harsh and mercurial that the notion of “courting life” seems a radical act of bravery.
You can only embrace life if you refuse to see life as the enemy – admittedly, a hard thing to do in these crazy times.
I once had a client whose mantra was,“life’s a bitch and then you die.” In some perverted way, life for him was a form of punishment.
The opposite of love is actually not hate – it’s indifference.
The opposite of embracing life is walking away from life.
For the person living in a dark place of disappointment, the mantra he or she clutches is, “why bother?”
Embracing life means “bothering.”
It means coming to terms with the reality that not everything can be ours.
But here’s the thing – maybe what you want isn’t worth having.
Maybe what you want isn’t really what you want.
Maybe what you want now will come to you, but only later.
And maybe what you want is wonderful and you should have it, but it will be the one thing you’ll never have, for a host of reasons.
Sad for you, though, if you don’t see what else is being offered you because there is always something being offered. Even in the middle of a pandemic.
And maybe that’s what embracing life is all about – seeing and receiving the “something else” that is being offered.
Years ago, I came across this story and tucked it into a journal book –
An old man approached the 19th century poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti and asked him to look at his portfolio to see if his work showed potential talent. After looking through several sketches, Rossetti gently told the elderly man that the pictures had little value and showed little talent.
Disappointed but not surprised, the old man apologized for taking up Rossetti’s time but asked if the artist might look at a few more drawings done by a young art student. As he looked at each creation, Rossetti became enthusiastic in his praise.“These are very good; this young student has great talent and should be encouraged. Who is the artist? Is it your son?”
“No,” said the old man sadly. “This is my work from forty years ago. If only I had heard your praise then! For you see, I got discouraged and gave up too soon.
William J. Bausch
There are two often overlooked components to dreaming big.
The first is that in order to dream big, you need to be kind to yourself – as you let the dream become a part of who you are without defining who you are.
Without kindness, you can’t nurture that BIG dream so as to let it give you life and energy, even if you receive no encouragement.
Without kindness, you will walk away from your dreaming self.
While the story packs a surprise punch, I have reflected on which was sadder – that no one encouraged the painter when he was a young man OR that he allowed the lack of encouragement to seep into his soul and stifle him?
The real tragedy is that he could not muster enough kindness to offer to his own talent.
The other overlooked component to dreaming BIG is that if you are dreaming big then you have an obligation to encourage other big dreamers – to encourage those who don’t dream big to dream big.
To be obsessed with your dream and not hear or see or sense the dreams of others turns you into a megalomaniac and not a dreamer.
To dream big is to embrace life. . .
If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye, which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what is so sparkling, so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!Soren Kierkegaard
ACCEPT ALL INVITATIONS
Accept ALL invitations? My first reaction was – not practical! We’re just too busy to accept most invitations, let alone ALL.
I heard the ghost of my mother who didn’t allow my brother and me to go trick-or-treating in our Bronx apartment building where everyone knew every one, as she was afraid the candy might be tainted!
As a young adult I had to learn how to accept people’s invitations, to move beyond my mother’s suspicions.
I learned that the exquisite aspect of an invitation is that it’s a gift, a surprise.
My mother believed nothing good could come from an invitation. She thought the inviter probably wanted something, that they had an ulterior motive.
An invitation, though, can be the promise of something unexpectedly good – something that surprises us with its unique perspective on life.
Invitations hold the promise of connection. And isn’t that what we all need right now?
The best invitations are like the feel of a breath of fresh air blowing by our face – we feel refreshed.
How do we court life?
By not becoming so jaded that we look askance at every invite.
When I think of the life-changing experiences that have dotted my life, I realize that each one came about because I accepted an invitation, whether it was to teach on an island in the South Pacific or to babysit an infant who would eventually become my godson.
Albert Schweitzer, a humanitarian of the mid last century, maintained that,
In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
Even in a pandemic we are summoned to COURT LIFE!
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